Chesterton Tribune



Town Council takes under advisement CFD's proposal for ALS ambulance service

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With the Town of Chesterton and Superior Ambulance Service within 60 days of parting ways--after the Town Council at its last meeting refused to subsidize Superior to the tune of $150,000, to be paid immediately--the Chesterton Fire Department is now proposing to establish its own advanced life support (ALS) ambulance service.

Certainly Member Jim Ton, R-1st, left the door open to that move when he suggested, at the council’s last meeting, that the “tribute” demanded by Superior might be used for a “conversion” to ALS.

With that in mind, Fire Chief John Jarka submitted a proposal to the council at its meeting Monday night. The proposal’s key component: a rotation of part-time paramedics, in conjunction with the CFD’s own EMTs, would be used to staff the ambulance.

Jarka noted in his proposal that the paramedics’ part-time pay rate of $18 per hour is not included in the town’s 2020 budget, but that anticipated revenues--which, he said, never fell below $200,000 in the five full years collected by Superior--would be more than sufficient to cover the cost of the part-timers, estimated at $60,000 annually.

ALS service, however, would require a few other things:

--A contract with a billing company.

--An ordinance to set a fee schedule.

--A memorandum of understanding with a back-up ambulance provider.

--And an upfront capital investment of approximately $50,000 for a Lifepak monitor and chest compression device.

Members were not prepared on Monday to press forward, though. For one thing, Member Nate Cobbs, R-4th, wanted to know whether Porter Regional Hospital might be willing to place a crew at the CFD station.

Jarka indicated that Porter Regional Hospital would charge the town a fee for that service.

Ton asked Jarka what sort of a fee that might be, and Jarka replied that he hadn’t gotten that far in his talks with the hospital and in any case a Porter Regional Hospital crew, even headquartered at the CFD station, would not serve the town exclusively.

In the end, members opted to take the proposal under advisement. “It’s a lot to digest and a lot to think about,” Ton said. “I like the idea of taking it under advisement. Passing this in one hearing is not a move I’d be willing to do.”


In other business, members voted unanimously to authorize the expenditure of $15,000 in CEDIT funds for the purchase of digital radio consoles for the consolidated Chesterton and Porter PD dispatch center, to replace the analogue consoles which have proved less than adequate in dispatching over the newly installed digital radio frequency.

The new consoles will remedy the sometimes broken communications when dispatchers are speaking to officers in the field, Cincoski said.

Members also voted unanimously to declare as surplus the CPD’s K-9 unit, Maverick, who will be sold to his handler, Erik Palleson, for $990. Palleson has accepted a position with the Valparaiso PD, which has no interest in purchasing Maverick from the CPD.


Meanwhile, staff will review a petition for the vacation of a public right-of-way, submitted by Trap Masters Plumbing, 1720 Wood St.

The right-of-way in question is a platted but undeveloped alley on the east side of the building.



Posted 11/26/2019




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